By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – The recent rash of gun violence in Denver and surrounding areas has parents on edge as children are returning to school after winter break. On Sunday evening, community members gathered in Montbello to pray for their kids’ safety and healing.

(credit: CBS)

The “Saving Our Neighborhood Community Prayer” is hosted every year by Families against Violent Acts and the Struggle of Love Foundation. This year, it was especially timely and meaningful for many of the parents and community members.

“Enough of the violence, Lord. Enough of the pain, Lord. Enough of the tears, Father,” said a pastor to the group that gathered in a retail parking lot off Chambers Road.

For the crowd, prayer was the common bond. It was a unifying way to grapple with a problem hitting close to home for far too many.

“It has been horrendous how many young deaths we’ve seen just this year,” said Demekia London, who is raising her five nieces and nephews.

London tells CBS4 that her kids have known six young people killed in Denver or Aurora since June. The group includes Gayland Allen Jr., whose remains were found in Aurora last week, and Nathan Poindexter, who was shot down at an Aurora mall on Dec. 27.

Gayland Allen Jr.

Gayland Allen Jr. (credit: CBS)

Nathan Poindexter

Nathan Poindexter (credit: Kenneth Crowley)

“When they left school they were in mourning for one young man and now they’re going back to the death of two young men in a week,” London said.

At the event hosted by FAVA, pastors prayed for each child’s safety as they head back to school Monday. One pastor specifically called out each child’s name and asked for the crowd’s blessing.

“It just makes the sense of urgency even stronger that we really need to do something. that we have to put our faith into action and not only pray, but come together,” said Linda Colbert with FAVA.

“It will definitely start the healing process and hopefully it will be soothing to a lot of their souls because they really need this,” said London.

(credit: CBS)

A number of incidents over the last few months have gone unsolved, so following the event some of the organizers handed out flyers regarding the homicide of 17-year-old Diego Marquez, who was killed in September at Green Valley West Ranch Park. The flyers urged anyone with information to call Denver Police.

Conor McCue

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